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For the last twenty five years the Northwest Automotive Press Association has held an annual “Mudfest” competition, and for the very first time in the events long history a singular vehicle has won the Overall, Truck, and Extreme Capability categories, and that vehicle is the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Jeep has been calling the Gladiator the most capable midsize truck ever since it started advertising for the vehicle but this massive win solidifies Jeep’s claim as a fact. Oh, and we almost forgot the 2020 Jeep Gladiator was also voted “Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year.”

Such high marks aren’t just given, they’re earned and the 2020 Gladiator definitely earned them. Over twenty five journalist all a part of the Northwest Automotive Press Association spent two days in Shelton, Washington testing the on and off-road capabilities of different vehicles; twenty-two vehicles to be exact from fourteen different manufacturers. The range of vehicles was all tested at The Ridge Motorsport Park in Shelton. 

The folks at Cerritos Dodge (Cerritos, CA) explained to us that the asphalt road circuit at The Ridge Motorsport Park was developed by Steve Crawford, the same man who designed the famous Thunderhill Raceway Park. It is 2.47 miles long, includes 16 turns, and has over 300 feet of elevation gain and loss per lap. The off-road park on the other hand delivers rough terrain and obtrusive obstacles that’ll test any off-road vehicles suspension. 

The almost two dozen vehicles that were tested competed in six categories including: Subcompact Utility, Family Utility, Compact and Mid-Size Utility, Premium Utility, Trucks, and Extreme Capability. Winners were selected in each of the six categories and then the 2019 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year was selected from the winners of the previously listed categories. Considering the all-new 2020 Gladiator won three out of the six categories it’s no wonder the pick-up truck won the vehicle of the year award. 

Okay, you get it the 2020 Gladiator is one highly capable midsize pickup truck but does it have anything else to offer besides that? You bet it does. The Gladiator has one key feature you won’t find with any other pickup truck on the market today, open-air freedom. Jeep designers took inspiration from the four-door Jeep Wrangler when they developed the Gladiator, so you’ll find the same removable doors and roof everyone loves from the Wrangler. 

If you’re thinking that the Gladiator is just a barebones pickup truck solely focused on rugged capability and open-air freedom you’d be wrong. The Gladiator also boasts a multitude of high-tech features including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, Rear Cross Path detection, Forward Collision WArning-Plus, and Blind-spot Monitoring.  If you’re looking for some truly luxurious features you can opt for the premium Alpine sound system, leather upholstery, LED ambient footwell lighting, a spray-in bedliner, and a tonneau cover just to name a few. 

The Northwest Automotive Press Association was founded in 1991 and has members representing more than 700 magazines, newspapers, media groups, radio stations, and the internet. Non-voting members include individuals from automotive manufacturers and other automotive industry professionals. All of whom are located throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Canada.